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10 January 2016 @ 03:53 pm
Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom: Retooling magic  
A while ago, when I was converting WotMK over to Exalted's system, I decided to use Terrestrial Circle Sorcery for the various groups of creepy sorcerers because that way I didn't have to write a ton of spells. However, I gave every group of sorcerers ten spells, I've written up fifteen groups so far, I didn't want any overlap between the groups, and there's only so many Terrestrial Circle spells that people have written, even with weeks of scouring the internet for them a while back. When I was writing up the latest sorcerous order, I could only find five spells that fit the concept and weren't already taken by other groups. When I found myself writing up several new spells, I realized that I had hit the limits of the parameters I'd set for myself, and if I wanted to be able to write more sorcerous groups--and I do, since there are several countries in the gazetteers that don't have any at all--I needed a full custom spell list for each group.

So I'm going back to my previous approach. You can see an earlier version of that here, from when I was still using Novus, and a modern version below the cut:
Here's the original way I did the sorcerous orders, from the pre-change document I've kept:

The Pyromancers of the Wastes
Spirit-driven hermit sorcerers
The Kappa Wastes are barren and desolate, but they have a kind of stark beauty to them. Some people are drawn to that beauty, settling in caves and living as hermits in the wastes. The kappa tribes typically leave these holy men and women alone, viewing them as touched by the spirits and worthy of respect. Some of these hermits are simply mad, but in many cases, the kappa are correct.

The pyromancers are a group of sorcerers who have heard the call of the spirits of the wastes. Spirits of heat and lava flows, of the sirocco and the burning sun. The spirits speak to them and teach them their ways and slowly, these hermits grow to master the power of fire. While many of them remain in the wastes, meditating on the nature of destruction and renewal or contemplating the emptiness of the wastes, some of them travel to the civilized lands, seeking what wisdom they can find there.

Pyromancers' magic is the path of lava flows and of the burning sun, of the endless hot days and the dry, windy nights. It focuses on both the obvious, external nature of fire, that burns and consumes and gives heat and light, as well as the inner nature of fire—that of emotion and passion and a beacon for those seeking guidance. Master pyromancers are as charismatic as they are potent in battle, and it is perhaps fortunate for the nations of Agarica that most of them spend their time alone, meditating on the nature of the Wastes by lava flows or obsidian fields.

Requirements: Presence ••, Resistance •, Survival ••
Benefit: The pyromancers may buy 3 pts of the Fire Resistance mutation. Their Cosmetic mutation is that they always have extremely-high body temperatures that are easily noticeable with a casual touch.
Sorcery: Commanding Presence of Fire, Flight of the Brilliant Raptor, Garda's Last Cry, Heartfire Regeneration, Internal Flame, Purifying Flames, Ravenous Fire, Ritual of Elemental Empowerment (fire only), Summon Elemental (fire only), Virtuous Guardian of Flame
Rituals: Magma Kraken, Pyre of Armies, Threefold Binding of the Heart

Relatively simple and all I needed to do was pick the appropriate spells. You can see the conceptual space the pyromancers occupy from those spells, too: controlling fire, fire as enchanting and captivative, fire as a source of light and healing and warmth, and destructive fire that consumes. I kept that in mind when I wrote up the new spells and expanded it a bit.

This is significantly longer, so I've further put it behind a block:

[Spoiler (click to open)]Everything before the "sorcery" bit is the same, but there's quite a bit more otherwise:

Torch Circle

Dragon's Breath
Cost: 5m, 1w
Casting Time: One Miscellaneous Action
Duration: Instant
Target: A cone [Essence] * 5 yards long
Keywords: Obvious
The pyromancer takes a deep breath, then ignites the air with the fires inside herself and expels it in a cone in front of them. The sorcerer rolls Wits + Occult to hit; all targets in the area defend separately. Dragon's Breath has a base damage of 4L.

Flare Bolt
Cost: 2+m
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: Instant
Target: [Essence] * 30 yards
Keywords: Obvious
The sorcerer summons up a bit of fire and hurls it at a target within the spell's range, using Wits + Occult with an Accuracy of their Essence. If the spell hits, it does a base damage of 2L, plus 1L per 2 additional motes of Essence spent on the spell, to a maximum of the pyromancer's Essence in additional levels of damage. Successes on the attack roll add to damage as normal.

Forge-Hardened Flesh
Cost: 6m
Casting Time: One minute
Duration: [Essence] days
Target: Touch
Keywords: Commitment (2m), Environmental, Touch
The pyromancers live in one of the most hostile environments in the world, and their magic allows them to bear up under incredibly harsh conditions. The target of this spell can soak Environmental damage with their full stamina, reduces the Trauma of such damage by 1, and against fire or heat they reduce the Trauma by an additional 2. They also double the time they take before starvation or thirst claims them (Exalted, pg 129).

Heart of Cinders
Cost: 8m
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: One Scene
Target: [Essence] * 2 allies
Keywords: Obvious
The caster speaks words of encouragement and their allies feel their hearts stir within them. A number of targets equal to twice the sorcerer's Essence gain a number of temporary Valor channels equal to the successes on a Charisma + Presence roll, to a maximum of their Willpower or twice their Valor, whichever is lower. Any channels not used before the spell's duration ends are lost.

Outracing the Flames
Cost: 4m
Casting Time: One Miscellaneous Action
Duration: [Essence] * 2 actions
Target: One target touched
Keywords: Obvious, Touch
The pyromancer emulates the speed of a roaring brushfire, allowing them to move with startling alacrity. Their Move and Dash distances are doubled for the spell’s duration, but they are treated as Stunned for all actions other than movement or Athletics rolls.

Shape Flames
Cost: 5m
Casting Time: Two Miscellaneous Actions
Duration: Concentration
Target: [Essence] * 10 yard radius
Keywords: Obvious, Shaping
As part of their training, the pyromancers learn the secret words that flames speak when they spread, hidden in the crackle of snapping kindling. Those words allow them to command the flames, inducing them to spread only at their command. The sorcerer rolls Wits + Presence and may then control the spread of any flame with a Trauma rating less than the successes on the roll, causing it to spread up to [Valor] times faster than it normally would or not spreading at all. Fires thus controlled still need fuel or they will go out.

As an additional benefit, the pyromancer may kindle any readily-flammable material such as torches, firewood, dry brush, and so on within the spell’s radius.

Bonfire Circle

Burn Out Corruption
Cost: 6m, 1w
Casting Time: Ten minutes
Duration: Special
Target: One sick creature
Keywords: Commitment (5m), Poison, Sickness, Touch
The sorcerer touches the target and probes their body with their magic, seeking out the pollution within the target's body and burning it away. Burn Out Corruption is highly effective, but that effectiveness comes at a the price of damage to the target as the spell literally sears their body clean.

For a Sickness effect, the target of this spell counts as treated, the Morbidity of the disease is reduced to One Day, and the target gains a +2 bonus to Resistance rolls against diseases. However, every roll to resist the disease, successful or not, does one unsoakable level of Bashing Damage to the target. The Essence remains committed until the target overcomes the disease or the caster ends the spell.

For a Poison effect, the target may immediately and reflexively reroll to resist the poison as a supernatural creature. If the Toxicity has the M tag, it is reduced by two. In addition, the total damage per interval is reduced by the sorcerer's Essence, to a minimum of 1. However, this causes one unsoakable level of Bashing Damage per 5 points of raw damage the poison had before Burn Out Corruption was cast. Essence remains committed until the poison is overcome or the caster ends the spell.

Commanding Presence of Fire
Cost: 15m, 1w
Casting Time: Three Miscellaneous Actions
Duration: One scene
Target: [Essence] * 100 yard radius
Keywords: Obvious, Social, War
The pyromancer creates a fiery image of themselves, a dozen yards tall and visible hundreds of yards. Speaking through the image, the sorcerer allows all who would be able to perceive the image to hear their voice. The sorcerer can project Performance-based social attacks (or simple informative declarations) through the image. Any social attacks made through the Commanding Presence of Fire gain (Valor) bonus dice. Since the sorcerer cannot perceive through the image, social counterattacks that require the target to be present many not be invoked in response to social attacks made via this spell. Additionally, the sorcerer can use this spell to transmit messages between combat units, counting as (Essence) relays in mass combat.

Fires of Wrath
Cost: 8m
Casting Time: One Miscellaneous Action
Duration: Instant
Target: [Essence] * 20 yards, [Essence] * 2 yard radius
Keywords: Environmental, Obvious
This spell sends a ball of fire streaking toward any point within the spell's range. The sorcerer rolls Perception + Occult with an Accuracy bonus of their Essence. The Fires of Wrath cannot be parried without using Essence, though they may be dodged normally.

The spell has a base damage of [Willpower]L, and the fiery explosion kindles anything flammable within the radius. Such fire causes Environmental damage (1L/Action, Trauma 2) to those who remain within them.

Heartfire Regeneration
Cost: 10m
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: Special
Target: One damaged target
Keywords: Obvious, Touch
The pyromancer kindles a flame in the target, healing their flesh with fuel draw from their spirit. The target immediately ceases to lose blood. Then, so long as the spell is in effect, the target regenerates 1 Bashing Health Level every tick and one Lethal Health Level every 3 ticks. This healing cannot restore injuries the target cannot naturally heal over a longer period. Each time a Bashing Health Level is regained, the spell drains its target of 2m; Lethal Health Levels drain 5m

If the target runs out of Essence before the spell ends (or has none to begin with), the spell will drain a point of Stamina from the target, using it to fuel the next 10 motes’ worth of healing; if that is still not enough, it will drain another, and so on. The spell persists until the target is completely healed and has remained unwounded for 10 ticks; if damaged while the spell is still in effect, the healing recommences. If the target is reduced to 0 Stamina, they die. A conscious target may spend one two Willpower to prevent one point of Stamina loss.

While the spell is in effect, the target feels an intense burning that inflicts a -2 dice penalty to all actions. When it ends, this is replaced by a harsh fatigue, which offers an equal penalty; if a point of Stamina was lost, however, his penalty rises to -4. Points of Stamina lost to Heartfire Regeneration will not heal naturally, but can be healed magically as a permanent Crippling effect.

Molten Aura
Cost: 5m
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: One scene
Target: [Essence] * 2 yard radius
Keywords: Environmental, Obvious
The pyromancer reaches into the fire that burns in their soul and radiates it outward into the world, kindling the very air around them. When the spell is cast, the sorcerer is surrounded by an aura of flames, treated as an Environmental effect with Damage 2L/action, Trauma [Essence]. These flames affect friend and foe alike.

As an added bonus, while Molten Aura is in effect the pyromancer may soak both heat- and cold-based Environmental damage using their Stamina and reduces the Trauma of such effects by their Essence.

The Ravenous Fire
Cost: 14m
Casting Time: One Miscellaneous Action
Duration: Permanent
Target: One inanimate object within one yard
Keywords: Obvious
The pyromancer’s Essence flares around him as a jet of blue-white flame leaps up to a yard from his fingertips to ignite the target of the spell. Wood sears to ash. Stone softens and burns like wax, while metals crumble to ash and slag.

The flames consume the material to which they were originally set but leave other substances alone. For example, setting fire thus to the stone in a statue crafted of marble, silver and emerald leaves a pile of melted, seared stone, with undestroyed silver and emeralds among the slag. Nor can the fire consume enchanted objects, the magical materials or anything alive. The flames feel icy cold but cannot harm living flesh.

The Ravenous Fire consumes up to 27 cubic feet of material (about the size of a human-sized statue and its base) per dot of the pyromancer's permanent Essence. The fire gutters out once it devours this amount of material. No mundane means can extinguish it before then.

See Through the Flames
Cost: 10m, 1w
Casting Time: Five minutes
Duration: One scene
Target: [Essence] * 5 miles
Keywords: Component, Scrying
The pyromancer gazes into a fire and sends their magic through its heart, linking it within another fire of at least campfire size within the spell’s range. By gazing into the flames, they can see through the other fire as though they were standing at its location. They may also speak through the flames if they wish, though their voice will be distorted by the crackling of the flames. The pyromancer may shape the flames into an image of themselves, an abstract glyph or representation, or maintain obscurity as they wish.

The sorcerer may change the fire they are looking through as a Miscellaneous Action, and may continue doing so for the spell’s duration. Multiple pyromancers casting the spell may speak to each other as well as each looking through a separate fire, allowing a group of pyromancers to build a communication network even with non-sorcerers for as long as it lasts.

Inferno Circle
Burning Soul Gaze
Cost: 15m, 1w
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: Special
Target: One creature within [Essence] * 10 yards
Keywords: Gaze, Social, Total Control
Their eyes flickering with the flames within them, the pyromancer looks into another’s eyes and their will is overwhelmed. The sorcerer rolls Manipulation + Presence + Essence vs. the target’s MDV, and if the sorcerer wins, they utterly control the target for a number of actions equal to the difference in their Valor (minimum 1). The target may pay four Willpower to resist this effect, though even resistance leaves them muddled and feverish, suffering a -2 penalty to all non-reflexive actions for the time they would have been controlled.

When the spell fades, it leaves a rush of warm feeling for the pyromancer, creating a 1-point Unnatural Compassion Intimacy of friendship toward them in the target.

Fan the Embers of Life
Cost: 30m, 1w
Casting Time: Three Miscellaneous Actions
Duration: Special
Target: One dying creature
Keywords: Commitment (15m), Obvious, Touch
With this spell, the sorcerer can take even the tiniest spark of life within their target and kindle it back into roaring flame. When cast on a dying target (one with one or more of their Dying health levels filled with damage), Fan the Embers of Life immediately heals all such damage, stopping at Incapacitated. In addition, the character will heal all their wounds at the same speed as a supernatural creature. Any Poison or Sickness effects may similarly be resisted with supernatural facility. This effect lasts until all wounds are healed or until the pyromancer stops committing Essence to the effect.

If cast on a dead target within the a number of minutes equal to the sorcerer's Occult, the spell performs a similar function, though the target will be forever marked after by the power of fire—hot skin, reddish eyes, exhaling smoke when breathing, a faint smell of ash, and intolerance to cold have all been reported symptoms.

If cast on a target that is not Incapacitated or Dead, the spell causes four dice of Lethal damage as the target's life force flares up too powerfully for their body to contain. If this reduces them to Incapacitated, their body is consumed by white-hot flames, burning them instantly to ash.

Flight of the Brilliant Raptor
Cost: 18m, 2w
Casting Time: One minute
Duration: Instant
Target: [Essence] * 200 yards
Keywords: Area, Environmental, Obvious, Unstoppable, War
The pyromancer conjures up an enormous bird of white-hot flame, which mantles over the sorcerer before flapping its wings and launching itself screaming at its target. The sorcerer uses Perception + Occult to hit with an Accuracy of their Essence. The spell has a base damage of 8L and is unblockable.

One tick after the raptor hits, it explodes, burning the target and everything else within [Essence] * 10 yards as an Environmental effect with Damage 3L/action and Trauma [Essence]. These flames burn with supernatural intensity for at least [Valor] actions, after which it becomes normal fire and may be extinguished as normal.

Note this spell carries the Area Effect keyword and has special rules when used in mass combat. This spell always initiates a rout check and is considered a ranged attack by flame weapons and Essence weapons as well as a spell.

Incandescent Conflagration
Cost: 20m, 1w
Casting Time: Two Miscellaneous Actions
Duration: Special
Target: One target within 30 yards
Keywords: Crippling, Obvious, Unstoppable
The pyromancer reaches out to the fire that exists in the heart of all beings and fans it to a raging inferno. The sorcerer rolls Perception + Occult with an accuracy of their Essence as an undodgeable, unblockable attack against a single target within range, who may resist with Stamina + Resistance. If the pyromancer succeeds, the target burns from the inside out. Incandescent Conflagration has a base damage of 5L and is soaked only with Stamina. After post-soak damage is determined, it is not done all at once, instead being delivered at 3L per action until the total damage has been dealt. While the target is affected by the spell, they suffer a -5 penalty to all actions as a Crippling effect from the searing pain of being burned from within.

Summon the Fiery Servant
Cost: 20+m, 2w
Casting Time: Four hours
Duration: One lunar month
Target: One fire spirit
Keywords: Banish, Component, Obvious, Servitude
Summon the Fiery Servant conjures a spirit of fire and compels it to serve the pyromancer. In the presence of a great source of fire, such as a pool of lava or a roaring bonfire, the sorcerer conducts a four-hour ritual and summons the spirit, and then the contest begins. Both the sorcerer and the spirit roll Essence + Willpower, with a -1 internal penalty for the spirit for each extra 5 motes the sorcerer spends above the minimum on the spell.
If the sorcerer wins, the spirit is bound to serve her for one lunar month, gaining a Motivation of “to serve my master” for that period of time and never spending Willpower to override the sorcerer's orders. If the spirit wins, then it is free to do as it likes. The sorcerer may make a reflexive Wits + Occult roll to banish it back from whence it came, but if that roll fails, the sorcerer's charred corpse is usually the only thing remaining.

When the spell ends, the spirit is automatically banished. If treated extremely poorly, it may attempt to seek revenge, though vengeful spirits are usually very subtle in their machinations for fear of being bound again.

You can see that I adapted a lot of the existing spells into new ones. Others were taken from existing Dragon-Blooded Charms, various Pathfinder supplements I've bought int he last couple of months, or Warhammer Fantasy's spells, since the way WFRP divides up magic is probably my favorite way of doing it in any RPG and you can see the influence there in the way that Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom has small lists of thematically-limited spells.

So far, I've done that to thirteen of the fifteen original sorcerous orders I had--sixteen now, counting the one that triggered this whole thing in the first place--and it hasn't been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I did all that in about three weeks, and it leaves plenty of space for expanding into places that the list of Terrestrial Circle spells I have doesn't go.

For example, originally the Servants of Yarikh from B'rabht were just a place for all the Biblically-themed spells in Exalted to go, like Plague of Bronze Snakes, River of Blood, Water from Stone, Food from the Aerial Table, and so on to go, drawing on B'rabht's combo Egypt/Israel thematics (it's based on Birabuto, but I wanted something different than WotMK!Egypt), but now that I'm writing my own spells I can go back to the assocation of Yarikh as a moon god and write moon-themed spells for them. And keep the serpent imagery as well, because what is sword and sorcery if you don't have sinister priests with serpent-topped staves walking around?
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